Five Geoscience Students Recognized for Presentations at the 21st Annual Geoscience Student Expo

Students Connect with Potential Employers, Promote Research, and Attend Career Development Seminars

Five students from the University of Houston’s Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences were recognized for presentations at the 21st Annual Geoscience Student Expo.


First held in 1999, the Houston Student Expo has quickly evolved into the largest geoscience student expo in the U.S. The Expo offers a unique platform for the geoscience industries and students to interact on various facets with recruiting by potential employers as the major goal of the meeting. 

With the Gulf Coast region as a major hub for various geoscience industries, the Houston Student Expo has always received tremendous support from six Houston-based companies and four geological societies. Keeping safety and efficiency in mind, the 2020 Expo offered a virtual meeting on October 9 with experiences similar to previous years.

Prior to the meeting, students submitted pre-recorded videos of an introductory “elevator pitch” of their background and career goals along with summaries of their graduate research. Similar to the previous years, winners of the best research presentations were awarded with cash prizes along with the best elevator pitches. This competition was entirely virtual and judged by geoscientists from the oil and environmental industries. 

Of the 11 student awardees, five were from the University of Houston’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

UH Student Awardees

Research Presentation

Hualing Zhang, Ph.D. student (2nd Place)
Gravity modeling, Permian Basin, West Texas, and Brazilian rifted margin

Sean Romito, Ph.D. student (Honorable Mention)
Structural evolution, Caribbean Sea and Brazilian margin

Daniella Easley, Ph.D. student (Honorable Mention)
Statistical studies of petroleum geochemistry

Elevator Pitch

Bhavya Merchant, B.S. Honors student (2nd Place)
Machine learning and geophysical remote sensing, South Atlantic Ocean

Mei Liu, Ph.D. student (3rd Place)
Gravity modeling Gulf of Mexico basin

The meeting included an icebreaker with inaugural speeches from organizers and sponsors, networking sessions during virtual coffee hours and happy hours, and seminars on career development, soft skills, and technical topics. Seminar presentations included career options in geosciences, building a career road map, writing effective scientific abstracts, and building an effective resume and LinkedIn profile.